4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. — James 4:4-6 NIV
When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we were instantly given the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we received that Spirit, we become a part of the bride of Chirst and He has so much more that He wants to share with us. God placed Him in our hearts to lead us and to guide us into all truth. The Trinity longs for the time when we will allow the Holy Spirit to do just that. They are jealous of the time we spend focused on worldly things. Just as new lovers and newlyweds want to spend all of their time together, so does God want to spend His time with us. Just as Jesus warned us that we have committed adultery with a woman/man when we allow immoral thoughts to remain in our minds, we commit adultery with the world when we spend time on worldly things. To the extent that those things become more important, take up more of our time and cause us to make comments that hurt other people, we have become friends with the world and enemies of God. We are incapable of serivng two masters.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. — Matt. 6:24 NIV
We could replace the word money in this verse with other words, such as drugs, grandkids, popularity, power, sports, vocations, possessions or you can fill in the blank and the verse would still be just as true. Anything that we put above being obedient to God in any and every respect becomes our idol and we become enemies of God. When we face a choice in what to do or say and we feel that little nudge from the Holy Spirit, we must learn to stop and think. Do I really want to hurt my spouse, my Jesus who died for me? If not, then we need to temper our words and/or actions or completely change them so that they honor and glorify God. We need to remember David’s request:
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. — Psalm 19:14 NKJV
16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? 19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? –1 Cor. 10:16-22 NASB
When we take the Communion, we are all symbolically partaking of the same body and the same blood. This has been true ever since Jesus set the example with the disciples in the Upper Room. No matter what time it is in eternity, we are all bound together by that one body and one blood and it will be culminated in heaven when we all partake of the Communion at the great banquet table. So, we should never defile that practice by partaking of anything that has been sacrificed to idols or to demons of any sort. We cannot serve two masters and our God is a jealous God. We do not want to provoke Him.
13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), —Exodus 34:13, 14 NKJV
While we may not bow to wooden or golden images, we can still have things that we treasure more dearly than our relationship with God. These things or people are just as much an idol as any graven image. Each of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the things in our lives that grieve Him. Those things are our idols.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting-Psalm 139:23, 24 NKJV
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?—1 Cor. 3:1-4 (NIV)
Up until the death of Jesus, the people would follow after certain Rabbis, the great teachers of religion in that time. These Rabbis taught the Old Testament laws and rules, as well as those who taught idol worship. Now there was a new plan of salvation instituted with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In a sense, it is understandable that the people, at that time, would have been inclined to follow the teachers and not just their teaching. Paul is telling the Corinthians that they aren’t yet able to understand the message. They must first learn that it is the message that is important and not the messenger. Until they understand this and have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, he is not able to teach them in more depth. We still have the same thing happening in our society today. We have people who are misled and think that the messenger is the savior, thus we have cults and incidents such as Jim Jones, where people follow their leaders even unto death. Paul was concerned that the people in Corinth would turn back to the law or false religion. He wanted to be able to get them grounded in the faith by teaching them about living a Holy life after being saved, so that they, in turn, could make disciples of others. Today, we have many people who are saved and then become unsatisfied with Christianity because we don’t teach them to live holy lives. They drop out of church because we don’t teach them that living for Jesus is hard, but the joy and the end result is more than worth the effort. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.–1 Cor. 15:57 NIV
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.–Gal. 5:19-21 (NIV)
If we continually persist in committing any of the actions listed above, we are walking by the flesh. Our flesh is in control of our thoughts and therefore our actions. If we are having problems in any of these areas we need to do some heart-searching. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to have control of our thoughts before they become actions. Just as surely as dust enters our homes and settles on our fixtures, so do evil thoughts enter our minds and try to take up residence in our brains. We can choose to wipe the dust away or let it build up. The choice is ours. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and He certainly does not want any of the world’s junk living with Him. He is there to help us keep the temple clean. 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”–Matt. 15:18-20 (NIV)
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.—James 4:1-3 (NLT)
I beg to differ with the words Garth Brooks sings, there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it–I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. His ways and His thoughts are so far above ours that there is no comparison. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.—Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted. Relax, God is still in control.
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy–1 Timothy 6:2b-5 (NLT)
In our modern society, we have access to so much information that contains all kinds of doctrines and teachings. We must be aware of deception in every area of our lives. Every message we hear, every word that we read must be crosschecked against Scripture to be sure of its authenticity. Any person teaching the truth will not be offended if you question them on their stance. True Godliness will stand up to any test that man can devise. Every lie has just enough truth in it to make it believable. Every religion offers doctrines and rewards that appeal to the flesh. But Christianity (which is a relationship, not a religion) is the only belief system that claims to have a living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If anyone preaches any message that offers a different way to get to heaven than through the blood of Jesus Christ, that person is deceived. We preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the only way to heaven. We attempt to live holy lives to lay up rewards in heaven, not here on earth. Everything that we receive here on earth is a gift from God, not a reward for good works.